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Applicant-to-Hire Ratio and How to Improve it for Efficient Hiring

Posted by
Nupura Ughade
July 25, 2023

Hiring in 2023 is just as difficult and competitive (if not more) as compared to last year. For each open role, countless resumes flood in. How can you ensure you are getting the most qualified candidates amidst this sea of applications?

The applicant-to-hire ratio is a vital metric that sheds light on the efficiency and effectiveness of your hiring process. In this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into the applicant-to-hire ratio, industry benchmarks to watch out for, and practical strategies to improve it.

What is applicant-to-hire ratio?

The applicant-to-hire ratio quantifies the number of applicants needed to make a successful hire. The formula for calculating the applicant-to-hire ratio is:

Applicant-to-hire ratio = Total number of applicants / Number of hires 

Why is applicant-to-hire ratio important?

The applicant-to-hire ratio gives you a clear picture of how many applicants you need to assess and engage with before successfully filling a position. A high applicant-to-hire ratio may indicate inefficiencies in your sourcing, screening, or interviewing processes, leading to prolonged vacancies and increased time-to-hire. On the other hand, a low ratio suggests a streamlined and targeted approach, where you can quickly identify and secure qualified candidates.

Benefits of monitoring applicant-to-hire ratio

   - Identifying inefficiencies in the hiring process.

   - Gaining insights into the quality of applicants.

   - Assessing the effectiveness of sourcing strategies.

   - Evaluating the impact of changes in recruitment efforts.

Challenges of a high applicant-to-hire ratio

   - Increased time and resources required to process applications.

   - Difficulty in identifying top candidates from a large pool.

   - Risk of losing qualified candidates to competitors due to delays.

   - Negative impact on candidate experience and employer brand.

Applicant-to-Hire Ratio Benchmarks

Compare your applicant-to-hire ratio against industry standards and best practices. However, the applicant-to-hire ratios vary significantly depending on the industry, competitiveness, and the roles.

What are the average applicant-to-hire ratios across industries?

According to CareerPlug’s recruiting metrics benchmark report, here are the average applicant-to-hire ratios across industries:

Factors affecting applicant-to-hire ratio

   - Skill level and scarcity of talent in the industry.

   - Geographic location and competition for talent.

   - Company reputation and employer brand.

   - Recruitment sources and strategies employed.

What are the common reasons for a high applicant-to-hire ratio?

Here are the common reasons that cause your applicant-to-hire ratio to spike:

Ineffective job postings

   - Unclear job descriptions and requirements.

   - Lack of visibility on relevant job boards and platforms.

   - Inadequate promotion of company culture and benefits.

Poor candidate experience

   - Lengthy and complex application processes.

   - Lack of timely communication and feedback.

   - Unpleasant or unprofessional interview experiences.

Ineffective sourcing efforts

   - Narrow candidate sourcing channels.

   - Unconscious biases in the selection process.

   - Inadequate outreach efforts to underrepresented groups.

How can you improve your applicant-to-hire ratio?

These are some proven strategies to improve your applicant-to-hire ratio:

Streamline the application process

Start by simplifying and optimizing the application form, ensuring that it is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Minimize unnecessary steps and requirements that could deter potential candidates from completing the application. Leverage technology to collect applications, such as QR code scans or text-to-apply technology. Automate screening leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to quickly filter out unqualified applicants and prioritize those who meet the desired criteria.

Build a strong employer brand

A strong employer brand can significantly impact your applicant-to-hire ratio. To attract top talent, showcase your company culture and values through various channels such as your website, social media platforms, and job descriptions. Highlight employee testimonials and success stories to provide potential candidates with a glimpse into the positive experiences and growth opportunities within your organization. Leverage social media platforms to increase brand visibility and engage with your target audience. A compelling employer brand is the foundation to attracting qualified applicants who are genuinely interested in joining your team.

Streamline the interview process

An efficient and well-structured interview process is vital to improving the applicant-to-hire ratio. Start by defining clear interview criteria and evaluation methods to ensure consistency and fairness throughout the process. Automate interview scheduling with scheduling tools to cut down on the time wasted in the back-and-forth between the candidate and recruiter. Provide timely feedback to candidates after each stage of the interview process. Prompt and constructive feedback enhances the candidate experience and keeps candidates engaged throughout.

Identify bottlenecks and improve hiring efficiency

Analyze your hiring process to identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement. Evaluate each stage of the process, from initial sourcing to final selection, and identify any delays or inefficiencies. Streamline internal communication and collaboration among the hiring team to ensure a smooth and timely flow of information. Leverage data and hiring analytics to make data-driven decisions and optimize your recruitment efforts.

Craft compelling job descriptions

Use clear and concise language to accurately convey the responsibilities and qualifications required for the position. Highlight key aspects that make your organization unique and appealing to potential candidates. Incorporate relevant keywords to optimize job descriptions for search engines and ensure they reach the right audience.

Prioritize candidate experience

Provide regular updates on the application status, keeping candidates informed throughout the process. Personalize communication whenever possible to create a positive candidate experience and demonstrate your organization's commitment to individual consideration. Consider utilizing email automation and chatbots to handle routine communication tasks, ensuring efficient and consistent engagement with candidates.

Optimize your hiring process with automation

A well-optimized hiring process sets the foundation for the long-term hiring success of your organization.

Automation plays a significant role in optimizing your hiring process and improving the applicant-to-hire ratio. With modern tools, you can automate screening and scheduling to reduce inefficiencies. AI-powered tools enable candidate job matching, allowing you to identify the most suitable candidates quickly and accurately.

Want to see how you can improve your applicant-to-hire ratio and other core hiring metrics with Sense’s Talent Engagement Platform? Get a demo now

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